Now for our last matchup - the ever present Shizuoka versus Toukaidai Koufu.
Once again, for Shizuoka, who did well in the spring, they did not face anyone of note in the prefecture. Not even one of the Tohoka schools. Compare that to Toukaidai Koufu, who not only defeated Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku and Nihon Koukuu, but actually shut them out and mercy ruled them!
Normally I'd give the nod to Shizuoka, but Toukaidai Koufu has a rather good rate when they do get to Koushien. You can't count them out.
Toukaidai Koufu (Yamanashi)
CF Takabe Eito
2B Fukutake Shuu
LF Kadoyama Ryuu
RF Hirai Ren
3B Matsuoka Shunyuu
SS Igarashi Homare
1B Miyagawa Kazutaka
P Kikuchi Hiroki
C Iidzuka Ryuuya
CF Suzuki Shouhei
2B Ooishi Tomoki
RF Uchiyama Takeshi
C Horiuchi Kengo
3B Yasumoto Ryuuji
1B Hirano Hidemaru
LF Hirose Shun
P Muraki Fumiya
SS Sanpei Shinya
15:33 - First pitch!
Shizuoka does themselves no favors when Muraki offers a 2-out walk, and then throws away a pickoff throw. Hirai punishes them with a ball to the wall in right and it's quickly 1-0 for Toukaidai.
Perhaps Toukaidai didn't want the run that way, so they offer to give it back. It's an irregular hop, but still Matsuoka can't field it cleanly. And then on a mixup covering first they still get the out, but the runner alertly takes 3rd.
Horiuchi then rockets a ball down the left side and it takes a high bounce, and then off the wall. Just like that we're back level at 1.
I thought it might just be nerves the first inning and that both pitchers would settle down. But Hirano singles to right, and then after a bunt Muraki hits a liner to right as well. Just like that Shizuoka is threatening again.
SQUEEZE! But Sanpei pushes it foul.
SQUEEZE!!! Sanpei throws himself at the ball and somehow lays it down perfectly! Hirano scores and Shizokua has a 2-1 lead!
Igarashi saves perhaps another run when he makes a running pick on a chopper back up the middle. Completes the play to 1st for the 3rd out.
The weirder bit is that both aces can touch 145. So we're seeing some power arms, but both sides are finding ways to hit it.
That's because Takabe and Fukutake go back to back clean singles. And Kadoyama ties the game with a sac fly to left. Just like that.
Things getting away from Muraki quickly. He hits Hirai, and then Matsuoka slices a double to left center making it 3-2.
Igarashi then with a liner down the right field line... fair!! Both runners will score and it's now 5-2!
Muraki finally gets out of the inning, but that lead was very short-lived.
But now that Toukaidai Koufu has the lead, Kikuchi can't find the strike zone! He walks Ooishi and Horiuchi, then Hirano singles to left and that plates a run.
Watase with a deep ball to center, Takabe backpedaling, looks like he has it. But leaps! And it's off his glove! Horiuchi hustles around and scores making it 5-4! Fortunately, because iit looked like a fly out, the runners weren't going all out. Otherwise it might be tied.
Also fortunately for Toukaidai, neither Muraki or Sanpei can bet a base hit to drive in the runs. The lead stays with them.
There are opportunities to be had on both sides as their aces struggle to get a clean inning.
Muraki gives both runs right back when Hirai hits a 2-out single with Iidzuka and Fukutake on 2nd and 3rd. It's now 7-4 and this game will take forever.
Muraki's day is done.#10 Muramatsu relieves him, and then gives up a base hit. He gets that out when Toukaidi tries a hit-and-run which turns into a strike em out throw em out double play.
Shizuoka with a scoring chance when Horiuchi gets a leadoff single, and despite a fielders choice, still had a chance with RP Muramatsu at the dish. He fights off several balls, but fails to pull the trigger on one at the bottom of the zone, and the 10th pitch retires the side. Over an hour and a half and we've just hit the break.
Shizuoka is trying to claw their way back into this game. After a single by Suzuki and a double by Ooishi, they send Suzuki home on a pop fly down the right field line. The 1B was taking the ball instead of the RF, which made it easier to get home. So it's a 7-5 ball game.
But Muramatsu is a bit shaky in the lucky 7. After it looked like he was going to leave a runner stranded at 1st, he gives up a hit and hits a batter to suddenly make it a manrui situation. Kkuchi makes him work for the 3rd out when he dribbles it to the left side. Muramatsu is up to the task and makes the strong throw to 1st for the 3rd out.
Troubling times for Toukaidai Koufu. Kikuchi hits Yasumoto to start the inning, and then Hirano singles to center. After a bunt, it's Muramatsu again who can help his own cause.
But perhaps cognizant of the last AB, with 1st open, Muramatsu earns the free pass and now the gyakuten run is on.
Sanpei can't get a non-sac hit it seems. But he does get one run on a flyout to center. It's 7-6!
Suzuki with ball back up the middle. Hirao makes a great diving stop! Hirano going home! Throw from Hirao gets away from Iidzuka and not only does the run score to tie the game, but now they can push ahead by a couple runs!
Muranaka-kantoku has seen enough. #10 Matsuba comes in to take the mound and finally gets the last out. But we have a new ballgame!
Had. Had a new ball game.
Before I can get my thoughts gathered on this inning, it's single, single, single, 8-7 with Fukutake getting the RBI. Once again, Shizuoka must play catchup.
Last chance ups. Douten runner put on when Watase gets nicked.
But time runs out. Neither PH #15 Suzuki or #16 Uchimura can get the timely hit. And as a result they are eliminated on Day 2
And now I can close my eyes and sleep...